Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro produced a tireless display of perseverance today in Australia and will begin the 16th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from the third row of the starting grid. When the second day of action kicked off, the determined Spaniard got straight to work at the breathtaking 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island circuit as he pushed relentlessly in this morning’s FP3 session. Nevertheless, his determination wasn’t rewarded as Espargaro found himself in 16th position when the chequered flag fell, which meant that he needed to participate in Qualifying 1. However, after a solid run to 5th in Free Practice 4, the 24 year confidently got into gear when the first 15 minute session began. He set a best lap of 1’29.647 and then returned to the pit box in order to save a tyre for Qualifying 2. Once it started, Espargaro launched into his qualifying campaign aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 and sped to a time of 1’29.222. The young Spaniard then attempted to lower his time further on his second run, yet it was this lap that was his personal best and his performance will see him start from 9th place on the grid. Tomorrow, Espargaro will intend to bolt forwards and join the hunt for the top satellite position in what will be a tightly contested race.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith gave his all in the Qualifying 2 session today and will begin the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the fourth row on the grid. The 24 year old began the day by carrying on his setup work of his Yamaha YZR-M1 in order to combat the lack of grip that was affecting him yesterday. After progressing step by step, he eventually shot across the finish line at the end of the FP3 session, whilst setting a lap time of 1’29.877 that saw him clinch 9th and pass through to QP2. Once the crucial 15-minute qualifying fight commenced, Smith got straight into the groove and remained optimistic of seizing a solid starting position for tomorrow’s 27 lap sprint. By the time the shootout had finished, the young Briton had undertaken a total of nine laps with his fastest lap being a 1’29.626, which saw him qualify in 12th position. Now, Smith, who is the leading satellite bike in the World Championship standings, will once again fully intent to produce a rocket start and then battle through the field as he aims for a strong finish down under.

Pol Espargaro

Position : 9th

Time : 1'29.222 Laps : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015 “Today was finally a positive day for us in Phillip Island. This morning during FP3, things still weren’t really going to plan, but we made some significant steps forward in Free Practice 4. This session is virtually the only time in the weekend that we can ride without any pressure of having to do a good lap, so we used the 30 minutes to evaluate different ideas. In addition, I did a few laps behind Valentino, which helped me to understand which line to take in some corners. Anyway, the modifications that we tried with our setting, improved my feeling a lot and I started to feel comfortable again. My rhythm improved straight away, as well as my riding style and also the lines I was running, so I was confident about a solid qualifying session. In QP1, I was able to set a good lap time during my first and only run, so we were able to save a rear tyre for qualifying practice 2, but that meant I had to watch the end of the session from the garage. Straight after, in QP2, I felt like I didn't achieve the best that I could today, as I made some small mistakes in every lap of my second run. Still, after the somewhat challenging start that we had to face this weekend, I'm definitely satisfied with this result as we gave our all and we are not far off the pace which is promising for tomorrow."


Bradley Smith
Position : 12th Time : 1'29.626 Laps : 9

Bradley Smith - 2015

“It goes without saying that qualifying in 12th is not what I wanted to achieve today, yet I am confident that I can recover well and still have a good finish here. We managed to partly amend the rear grip issue that we struggled with yesterday which is positive but, unfortunately, we didn’t improve on the whole as much as we needed to. This is somewhat due to the crash that was on my out lap at turn four in FP4, where I made a slight mistake. This lost us some time as we wanted to use both bikes to try some different settings. With regards to qualifying itself, during my first run I struggled to warm up the tyre properly, so my time wasn't very fast. Then, on my second outing, I set a 1’29.6 which was better and would have been a good lap time to improve from if I had set it during my first sequence of laps, but unfortunately the session ended. For tomorrow we need to continue our work as there are a few things that need enhancing, so therefore it will be a busy warm up session for us. Yet, my rhythm itself is not too far off the pace and I think we can make some changes to boost my performance more. For sure, it will be a long GP and starting from 12th will make things a bit more difficult, yet I am convinced that with a good start we can recover several positions. After that, I expect there to be a lot of close fighting, so I aim to get into the pack and push hard for a solid result.”




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